A missing con artist proves the catalyst for intrigue, revenge, and romance in this latest novel by the prolific Clark.
Thirty-year-old widow Elaine "Lane" Harmon works for Glady Harper, an upscale interior decorator. She soon finds herself working on an unusual job—it's a small townhouse purchased by Eric Bennett, son of Parker Bennett, a notorious Bernie Madoff–like figure, for his mother to live in. Parker disappeared in a sailing accident before his many victims or the federal government could exact their revenge. Now his wife, Anne, is downsizing from their expensive mansion and Glady and Lane are decorating the place. But when Lane meets Eric—long suspected to be his father's collaborator--sparks fly. Eric denies he had anything to do with defrauding thousands of investors out of billions of dollars, and he’s hired a security firm to prove his innocence. Meanwhile, a man named Ranger, whose wife recently died without realizing her dream of moving to Florida after they were victimized by Parker, has decided that Eric and Anne don’t deserve to live at all. And a man who calls himself Tony Russo—an undercover FBI agent—has moved in next door to keep an eye on Anne. Gorgeous, smart Lane, the mother of sweet little Katie and herself the daughter of privilege and power, isn’t a terribly sympathetic character; and it doesn’t help that she’s a love magnet. While the author tries to raise the stakes with lots of nefarious schemes in play at once, none of it works. Clark pioneered a certain type of thriller and did it better than anyone, but her later novels—as evidenced by this one—have shown signs of wear with weak characterization, stilted dialogue, and sluggish, unimaginative plotting.
This novel only serves to remind readers of how good Clark can be and isn’t this time around.